New hiring, economy contingent on continued public health gains, especially in leisure and hospitality sectors

Strengthening of the local economy in 2021 will depend on public health.

This is a column by City Talk’s Bill Dawers, a longtime contributor to the Savannah Morning News.

With the pandemic’s brutal third wave receding and vaccinations continuing, daily life and commerce could feel a lot more normal by late spring.

The number of new COVID-19 cases in Georgia has been steadily declining since around Jan. 10.  The Georgia Department of Public Health is still reporting more than 2,000 new cases each day, but the downward trend is clear.

Bill Dawers

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The seven-day moving average of deaths in the state has been falling since peaking at more than 100 in mid-January. Deaths lag cases, of course, so reports of new deaths could remain high for several more weeks.

As I write this column, the number of COVID-19 patients in Georgia hospitals stands at more than 2,500, but that’s down from 5,700 hospitalized patients in mid-January.